Infant Optics DXR-8 480p Video Baby Monitor on a colorful background for cubby nursery awards best baby monitors
Credit: Illustration: Amrita Marino; Photo: Infant Optics
Cubby Nursery Awards 2024

We Asked 1,000 Parents to Tell Us What Baby Monitor to Buy, and the Winner Is “So Secure and Not Hackable”

published Mar 26, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

If you’re looking for nursery ideas, you may be focused on pinning all the baby boy nursery ideas or baby girl nursery ideas you can find. But we know you’re also researching essential baby gear, like a baby monitor. But which one should you get? We asked over 1,000 parents to tell us what baby monitor they’d recommend to other parents, and there were two clear winners: one that does not run on Wi-Fi, and one that does. 

Why You Should Trust Us

This is a best list that comes with real chops. Cubby is helmed by a small yet vibrant team of design-savvy parents who are unusually invested in finding the best products for life at home with kids, beginning with the nursery. Faith Durand (SVP of Content at Apartment Therapy Media, two kids, pro pinner of all the things), Cambria Bold (Executive Editor of Cubby, two kids, hobby designer, avid product researcher), and Laura Schocker (Chief Content Officer at Apartment Therapy Media, one kid with one on the way, small-space/city-living expert) have 40 years of digital editorial experience between them. They’ve already read about, researched, and purchased many of the baby products that you, as a soon-to-be parent, are wondering about right now. They’ll tell you exactly what you need to know about what to get. 

If they don’t know the answer, they know plenty of people to ask — like fellow editors, parenting experts, designers, and Cubby readers — so you can be sure that these recommendations come from real-life experiences.

Most importantly, we don’t just “office test” these products (read: order a bunch and shake ‘em around in our office “lab” with a fake baby doll) because that is helpful to approximately no one. The products we recommend here are ones we or fellow parents have actually purchased ourselves for our nursery and used for at least a few months (and sometimes way longer). The rave reviews are real.

How We Chose These Products

We asked readers (and parents!) of Apartment Therapy Media, which includes Cubby, Apartment Therapy, and The Kitchn, to tell us what baby monitor they bought and why or why not they’d recommend it to other parents. We received over 1,000 responses. We took the top two recommended baby monitors from the survey and then assessed our own firsthand experiences with the product. If the baby monitor came strongly recommended by our survey parents and was personally used for a significant period of time (with positive results!) by one of our editors, it made it to this list!

Credit: Infant Optics

The Secure, No Wi-Fi Choice: The Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

For parents looking for a hack-proof, closed-loop baby monitor (i.e., one that does not run on Wi-Fi and is thus much less vulnerable to baby monitor hacking), the top choice among our survey parents was the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Monitor and its newest model, the DXR-8 PRO. Our survey parents loved the secure no Wi-Fi system, the clear picture and sound, the under-$200 price point.

What Parents Said About the Infant Optics Baby Monitor in Our Survey

On the DXR-8

“We loved it. We work in cybersecurity and tech, so we felt strongly about not having a monitor that could be accessed via the internet. It worked great — especially when we had two kids! I’m actually buying one for my friend as a baby gift shortly.”

“It’s not connected to the internet, so you won’t be able to view it on your phone, but it’s more secure that way, and it is so reliable. The cameras and receiving units are like tanks, they’re so sturdy.”

“Closed circuit, doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi, and allows you to easily add more cameras as needed.”

“It doesn’t use Wi-Fi, so it’s so secure and not hackable.”

“I LOVE that it is not on Wi-Fi, so it can’t be hacked. Color is great, sound is great, reception is great. NO complaints whatsoever.”

“This was a very simple hand-me-down. We are the third family to use it and I’m impressed at how well the battery life is holding up!”

“Great monitor and highly affordable. We felt we didn’t need anything fancy and it still put us at ease.”

“Really long battery life. The range isn’t super long, but enough for around the house and some across the street.”

“Lasted through two babies, then got a new one with our third. Good sight and can move the camera easily. It’s also easy to toggle between two cameras/rooms on the monitor.”

“I like that it is non-Wi-Fi and can connect to two cameras. (Does not split screen but cycles between the cameras).”

“It had good reception in our city apartment!”

“Great image quality, especially in low to no light. Also, because it didn’t need a Wi-Fi network to operate, it was easy to travel with this same system.”

On the DXR-8 Pro

“I truly love it. It’s so nice to not be recorded, and the picture is clear and it works so well. Only hack is that we needed to get an extra piece from Amazon to mount it to our wall at the angle we wanted.”

“The video quality is amazing, especially night mode. The signal is very susceptible to electronic interference so we can’t keep it near a computer without issues.”

“It has the ability to connect multiple cameras to the monitor. Monitor is small and easily fits in pocket. Movement is smooth and quiet on camera.”

“The monitor’s camera angle is adjustable so that I can still see my baby if she moves to a different side of the crib. I also like the white noise canceling function.”

“The image is very clear, active noise reduction works great to eliminate feedback from the sound machine, great range, and the non-Wi-Fi aspect makes using it while traveling very easy.”

“We didn’t want a Wi-Fi one (because of horror stories we heard of hacking). It was clear and picked up sound great!”

What Cubby Editors Say About the Infant Optics Baby Monitor

Cubby’s Executive Editor, Cambria Bold, wholeheartedly recommends the Infant Optics DXR-8 baby monitor. After dealing with a Motorola baby monitor that kept fritzing out and had to be replaced twice (under warranty, but still), she bought the Infant Optics baby monitor in 2016 and never looked back. Here’s what she says about it. 

“Cubby’s survey parents are spot-on with all the reasons to love this monitor. I, too, did not want a Wi-Fi baby monitor because of security concerns, so this monitor was perfect. The video quality and sound were solid, you could add cameras to it as necessary (great for babies or kids in different rooms), and the range was perfectly acceptable — especially if you live in an apartment, as we did at the time. I never had any problems with it short-circuiting, even though we used it for years, and I passed it along to friends when my kids were old enough. (And if you’re wondering when that is, this article on when it’s time to stop using a baby monitor is helpful!)”

Credit: Nanit

The Feature-Full, Wi-Fi-Enabled Choice: The Nanit Baby Monitor

If being able to monitor your baby from your phone is a must-have feature, then the Nanit Pro Video Baby Monitor is the most secure option for you. Many of our survey parents love this monitor, and feel that Nanit’s 256-bit AES encryption assuages any security concerns. Parents especially loved the ability to monitor their baby from their phone, especially when one or both parents are away traveling; the terrific video and audio quality; the breath monitoring feature; and all the extra features, like temperature and humidity controls, white noise sounds, and a night light.

What Parents Said About the Nanit Baby Monitor in Our Survey

“100000% one of our best purchases.”

“Yes, although I would caution that to have the best experience you need to pay for a subscription. With that subscription, I love being able to see recorded activity, logs of lengths of sleep time. Video quality is good along with ability to view video on phone/iPad.”

“It’s super nice to see the bedroom temperature and humidity while also tracking his growth and vitals.”

“Yes, it’s probably overkill but I love the breath monitoring feature.”

“I would recommend the Nanit based on its excellent video technology and memory capabilities. I personally didn’t use the heartrate/breathing trackers that came with the monitor.”

“It lets us keep track of our baby from anywhere in the house or even while one of us is traveling.”

“It travels well and we love all the capabilities with adjusting sound, getting notifications, picture in picture, etc. Great to be able to see her when we’re out and have a babysitter or family watching her too.”

“We got the Owlet at first and returned it. The Nanit was amazing and we loved the sleep insights.”

“It gives me so much peace of mind. Love that it’s on my phone and that I can monitor breathing etc. if I want to.”

“Great night/dark visibility and seamlessly integrates with smartphone for alerts when baby is moving or crying.”

“We liked the floor stand option and the fact that you could watch the camera from outside the home, as my husband travels for work often. Sometimes the Wi-Fi connection is glitchy, but overall we like it. We also like the split screen option now that we have two toddlers in two different rooms.”

“Yes, it’s pricey but I loved the breathing monitoring, it really gave me peace of mind and I like that when I’m away from home/traveling, I can peek in on her sleeping.”

The Only Downsides

A few parents stressed that if you do get the Nanit, you really need to shell out for the app subscription plan in order to make the Nanit worthwhile. As one parent put it: “The Insights package is expensive, although without it the tracking accuracy of the camera seems to significantly decrease.” Other parents noted that the app drained their phone battery quickly, so they moved to a mini iPad to use as the monitor at night. 

And while many parents loved the breathing monitor feature, one parent cautioned against it: “Would not recommend. The breathing monitoring function scared the life out of us with several false alarms in the middle of the night.”

Stay tuned for more Cubby Nursery Award winners!